Volcanic plume monitoring at mount Etna by diffusive(passive)sampling

Alessandro Aiuppa, Mariano Valenza, Cinzia Federico, D'Alessandro, Ferm, Sergio Francesco Bellomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports the use of diffusive tubes in determining HF, HCI, and SO2 in the volcanic plume of Mount Etna in an attempt to highlight the potential of this method in studying volcanoes. In a first application a network of 18 diffusive tubes was installed on Etna's flanks, aimed at evaluating the atmospheric dispersion of the volcanic plume on a local scale. Results showed a monotonic decrease in volatile air concentrations with distance from the craters (HF from 0.15 to <0.003 μmol m-3 , HCl from 2 to <0.01 μmol m -3, and SO2 from 11 to 0.04 μmol m -3 ), revealing the prevalently volcanic contribution. Matching of SO2/HCl and HCl/HF volatile ratios with contemporaneous measurements at the summit craters validated the use of diffusive tubes in tracing the chemical features of a volcanic plume from remote locations. A first tentative assessment of dry deposition rates of volcanogenic acidic gases was also made, yielding 2.5-74 t d -1 (SO2), 0.6-17 t d-1 (HCl), and 0.02-0.6 t d-1 (HF) and revealing the potential environmental impact of gas emissions. In a second experiment, carried out during the recent October 2002 to February 2003 eruption of Etna, diffusive tubes provided a continuous record of the chemical composition of the eruptive plume from a "safe" distance of ∼1 km from the vents, thus considerably decreasing the risks involved in sampling. This highlighted a clear time decrease in SO2 concentrations and SO 2/HC1 ratios, which was interpreted as due to progressive exhaustion of volatile degassing and eruption energy. Copyright 2004 by the American
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages0
Publication statusPublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Volcanic plume monitoring at mount Etna by diffusive(passive)sampling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this